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UK construction bosses;lack of cheap labour post Brexit

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Sky News 24/2/17

'Managers in the construction industry have told Sky News they are struggling to recruit much-needed European workers following the vote to leave the EU.

New figures for the year up to last September show net migration has dropped by 59,000 to 273,000.

And while migration was a key factor for Brexit voters, the impact of the referendum can be seen at one of the biggest building developments in London where we were told 40% of the workforce used to come from eastern Europe.

Construction manager Gary Clarke said he is struggling to find suitable candidates and is now not receiving any applications from eastern Europeans.

Brexit supporters might think that's a good thing, but Mr Clarke says among British workers there are higher levels of sickness and candidates are not as well trained.

He says the sickness rate among eastern Europeans is ten times lower than that of their British colleagues, while UK workers also expect higher pay.

He said: "We simply don't have the amount of skilled labour to run large projects without eastern European help.

"And they're very skilled and excellent hard workers."

Andrei Paduraru works on the site in the Strand and came to the UK just before the EU referendum.

While some EU citizens panicked in the wake of the referendum, choosing to leave because of the uncertainty it brings with it, he and others at the site have a simple answer.

They will take their skills to other European countries if Britain becomes too difficult a place to work in.

Mr Paduraru says in London he can earn four times as much as back home. But it is an expensive place to live.

Asked what eastern Europeans think about Brexit, he said: "They say if England is going to kick us out we'll find another country."'

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See I actually have been led to believe that cheap foreign labour from Eastern Europe is a falsehood - a friend at a civil engineering firm with multiple crossrail contracts says they mostly employ Romanians and actually they don't come that cheap at all, they command a decent wage because they've more skill than the non EU foreign and the Brits and a far better work ethic to boot. With the amount of money being thrown at infrastructure there isn't the need to skimp on wages and I actually am of the opinion that it's not that they are cheap just the British are too arrogant at having inferior skill sets and need an excuse. 

They're not even cheaper, just better 

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TBH this reminds me of some discussions I had with people a few years ago.

A young man was having considerable difficulties finding work. I said get some work good experience and good qualifications.

I was rebuffed and told that I was being stupid. That what I was talking about might work that way in Korea. BUt in England the primary way to get in was to blag and lie your way in then learn quickly on the job. Also to get really chummy with your supervisor and bosses so even if you got caught they'd not want to sack you.

 

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.

Quote

 

'Managers in the construction industry have told Sky News they are struggling to recruit much-needed European workers following the vote to leave the EU.

 

It's a complete lack of planning and foresight.  To an extent they deserve to go bust and to be replaced by competent people who can cope without constant subsidisation.  There used to be millions of highly skilled British building workers but they dumped them whenever there was a downturn and latterly they dumped them for the cheap EEs.  

To be fair I don't believe them or at least not the way they portray it.  It's sheer greed - despite the numbers falling a bit net migration is still running at about 275,000 a year which suggests that total migration is still near to 500,000 to 600,000 a year. Very very few of them go into the NHS.

Edited by billybong

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1 hour ago, Parkwell said:

I'm interested to know where Eastern Europeans get their superior training and what is stopping Brits learning the same?

 

They value the pay and conditions much more than a british person.

For them 10-17 GBP per hour is like net 6-7 grand for the average brit - they will come in even when being ill.

Also in their home countries it's like you don't show up -> you don't have to come next day. And the boss handles them like pieces of shit, so the UK construction industry is like a dream compared to where they are coming from. So they actually like and value the work in the UK, that's why they show better work ethic.

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3 hours ago, A third of everything said:

See I actually have been led to believe that cheap foreign labour from Eastern Europe is a falsehood - a friend at a civil engineering firm with multiple crossrail contracts says they mostly employ Romanians and actually they don't come that cheap at all, they command a decent wage because they've more skill than the non EU foreign and the Brits and a far better work ethic to boot. With the amount of money being thrown at infrastructure there isn't the need to skimp on wages and I actually am of the opinion that it's not that they are cheap just the British are too arrogant at having inferior skill sets and need an excuse. 

They're not even cheaper, just better 

Having lived in quite a few share flats in London I can tell you they are cheap. Some working for 60 to 80 quid a day. How is a British worker with a family and mortgage supposed to match that? Good riddance to em.

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Project fear tosh. 

Net migration was down because emigration was up 30% to record levels.

That'd be doctors nurses dentists software developers electricians carpenters brickies teachers all highly skilled and experienced dumping the overcrowded island for better weather and a bigger house for less money. And being replaced by scrap metal collectors and big issue collectors on tax credits.

Immigration won't stop til they close the doors.

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9 hours ago, Parkwell said:

I'm interested to know where Eastern Europeans get their superior training and what is stopping Brits learning the same?

 

Not building but a very bespoke called for trade......Guy said looked into getting an apprentice to earn and learn alongside him, in fact the student asked if could be his appreciate, he looked into it and decided against it because of all the bureaucracy and red tape involved......Years ago trades would be passed down from father to son and there were many apprenticeships and technical schools.......Now many of our skilled trades people are retiring and taking their skills with them without leaving a legacy........I think recent governments expected to import these skills cheaply from aboard......goes for the caring professions also.....Reap what you sow.;)

Edited by winkie

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2 hours ago, winkie said:

Not building but a very bespoke called for trade......Guy said looked into getting an apprentice to earn and learn alongside him, in fact the student asked if could be his appreciate, he looked into it and decided against it because of all the bureaucracy and red tape involved......Years ago trades would be passed down from father to son and there were many apprenticeships and technical schools.......Now many of our skilled trades people are retiring and taking their skills with them without leaving a legacy........I think recent governments expected to import these skills cheaply from aboard......goes for the caring professions also.....Reap what you sow.;)

It is the small trades that have been most severely affected by the slew of new rules, the oversight required for running a team of 50 not that much different to that of 1 or 2,  you can run 10's, 100's installers with NO qualifications and just have one qualified person to oversee work, one man band needs same qualification level. No coincidence that regulation and rules/practices that have been introduced have been heavily influenced by big business to benefit big business hence the next generation take one look at the overhead and numbers stacked against them and think sod that.  Then there is the financial side - small house developer has in most cases no chance of obtaining plots - a bit of garden grabbing and private work but that is it. Big land banks and withholding land supply has worked very well for the listed builders and the other big builders as a lock out mechanism for any meaningful competition.

 

 

Edited by onlyme2

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Sounds like the construction industry deserves to go bust and have all the companies replaced by more intelligent eastern european ones who through no fault of their own are having all their well trained employees leeched away to the UK.

If it's such a ******ing chore to get workers then build less houses or just ****** off. Does anyone actually give a shit anymore? My patience has been truly tested waiting for these idiots to get their act together. Clearly they don't give a shit. It's all about the profit - till it collapses through mismanagement of course. Welcome to Britain.

 

 

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The construction industry is cyclical. When a bust occurs many leave the industry and do not come back and industry has become increasingly disinclined to train so as to keep a constant supply of skill. Construction wants a flexible labour force that it does not have to train; if it wants to retain workers there is of course the standard capitalist cure: pay them more, but it would appear this not attractive or feasible.

Look at it another way; the less workers and immigrants the less need for housing; one of the main reasons we need more housing is because of immigration; they are (by going away) arguably solving a problem rather than creating one.

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14 hours ago, A third of everything said:

See I actually have been led to believe that cheap foreign labour from Eastern Europe is a falsehood - a friend at a civil engineering firm with multiple crossrail contracts says they mostly employ Romanians and actually they don't come that cheap at all, they command a decent wage because they've more skill than the non EU foreign and the Brits and a far better work ethic to boot. With the amount of money being thrown at infrastructure there isn't the need to skimp on wages and I actually am of the opinion that it's not that they are cheap just the British are too arrogant at having inferior skill sets and need an excuse. 

They're not even cheaper, just better 

So your friends company just steals the training which has been provided to these workers at not considerable cost by the Romanian taxpayers, government and industry. Basically they are just asset strippers then

Out of interest I wonder where the families of these Stakhanovites live and who is housing them.

Edited by stormymonday_2011

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Are we meant to believe, amonst thet 270,000 people there's not a 1000-2000 cheap labourers ?

These scum bags clearly want more immigration to put in their over priced shoe boxes, nothing else

 

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16 hours ago, Parkwell said:

I'm interested to know where Eastern Europeans get their superior training and what is stopping Brits learning the same?

 

And also, what is stopping the British workers getting the training? Oh, no need, when you've fully trained EE workers instead. Heaven forbid the builders may have to nurture staff.

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3 hours ago, TheCountOfNowhere said:

Are we meant to believe, amonst thet 270,000 people there's not a 1000-2000 cheap labourers ?

These scum bags clearly want more immigration to put in their over priced shoe boxes, nothing else

 

+1

More immigration for cheap labour to build the shoe boxes then the migrant labour can live in them along with the others.

 

Edited by billybong

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1 hour ago, A third of everything said:

"Steals the training" or rather rewards the individuals justly? Depends which way you look at it I suppose...

Perfectly reasonable way to look at it. Doesn't change that it's a short-sighted way to do business. Betting on a constant supply of cheap immigrant labour. When that dries up due to policy from whichever country they need to either create a workforce or shrink the company as necessary. They can continue to moan and beg for changes to policy but it makes them look even more unprofessional.

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At least Romania get some benefit of their training by some sending money back which will be taxed as well as reducing their unemployment figures etc.  It's difficult to see the benefit to most UK people from tiny shoe boxes although statistically (not in real terms) it helps gdp and really helps to boost builders' profits and owner/director pay packets.  

It pretty much continues to hollow out the UK, the UK economy and the UK skill base and does little or nothing for the overall housing problems (without a halt/reversal in population increase) or housing quality.

 

 

Edited by billybong

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Having worked for many years in very specialised engineering, when I needed outside work I would take it on at contractor level.  Hour rates are negotiable, and can be high teens, early to mid twenties.   The thing was, all the British/English on site contractors really valued their positions, and in around 80-90% they were permanent and rolling.  They were happy, and had a good weekly screw coming in. If you put in the hours, you were getting close to 45-50K.   Now for some of you this may be peanuts.   

The thing I don't understand is that if you had a skill like proper/decent/accurate reliable etc Electrician, Plumber, brickie etc, then why the hell should they not get similar rates? If British people were able to get proper wages "on the houses," I can assure you there would be intense competition for these positions.

Or maybe the government in co-operation with house builders could introduce a scheme that if they work for "cheap" rates, they get to put the difference between the low rate and a "proper" rate into their own property.  This would sit UBER well with WVM (white van man) mentality.

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49 minutes ago, Shea VanHaven said:

.   

The thing I don't understand is that if you had a skill like proper/decent/accurate reliable etc Electrician, Plumber, brickie etc, then why the hell should they not get similar rates? If British people were able to get proper wages "on the houses," I can assure you there would be intense competition for these positions.

 

Of course skilled blue collar jobs should get stabiity and good rates. This is one of the issues behind brexit.

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3 hours ago, A third of everything said:

"Steals the training" or rather rewards the individuals justly? Depends which way you look at it I suppose...

What do you mean by justly. 

This is simple wage arbitrage by the employer and employee

The company don't have to pay the cost of training their staff and therefore that cost is removed from the equation. They also get to pay lower wages to staff whose families may live outside the UK where the cost of living and particularly housing is lower.

Equally the workers gets to earn money in a high wage economy while potentially not bearing all the costs of living in such an environment.  Also as EU citizens they get to access to UK Benefits etc  which can be used to support these their families abroad.  Any wages and benefits remitted overseas are essentially lost to the UK economy as the money is no longer circulating here. 

Short term it is a boost to the construction company's profits and to the foreign workers living standards but it offers precious little long term benefit to the UK.

Edited by stormymonday_2011

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What really pisses me off about these kinds of stories is the fact that we have been told for decades that the free market is the way to go- but when that free market produces labour and/or skill shortages suddenly we have  company bosses whining and demanding state intervention to restore their access to cheap labour/skills.

If the problem is low wages then pay higher wages,if the problem is skill shortages then train more people- don't bleat to the goverment to solve your problems while at the same time pretending to be businessmen or entrepreneurs.

 

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